How to Apply: Graduate Group in Science and Math Education (SESAME)

Applicants must submit all materials for the SESAME program by Mon., Dec. 4th, 2023 @ 8:59 p.m. (PST)

The Graduate Group in Science and Mathematics Education (known informally as SESAME) offers an interdisciplinary graduate program leading to a doctoral degree in science, mathematics, technology, and engineering education. The program is designed to give graduates advanced expertise in a STEM discipline as well as in educational theory and research methodologies.

If you’re interested in applying to SESAME, we encourage you to visit the campus. We offer prospective students:

Class visits. Come to experience a class for yourself. Review the current course schedule and email us the course title and date that you would like to visit.

Meet ups. Meet with current students to chat with them about the program and their experiences in SESAME.

Please email one to two weeks in advance, to allow time to schedule class visits, tours, and student meetings. The best times to visit are during the academic year (mid-September through the end of April). For a more comprehensive tour of the Berkeley campus, you can arrange campus tours through Visitor Services.

Online Application

  • Application deadline: Monday, December 4th, 2023 @ 8:59 p.m. (PST).
  • The online application for admission can be found at the Graduate Division website.
    • Select Term: Fall; Degree objective: Science & Mathematics Education PhD.
    • All uploaded documents should be in PDF format only.

All materials are due by the application deadline.

All application materials become property of the University of California. Materials can neither be returned to you nor released to any other party.

Application Fee

  • When you apply for graduate admission, you will be required to submit the application fee using a major credit card.
  • If you are a U.S. citizen or current permanent resident, the application fee is $135; for all others, the fee is $155.
  • The application fee is non-refundable.
  • You may qualify for an application fee waiver. To check eligibility, visit the Graduate Division website

Program Information

Faculty Adviser
You will be required to select and rank up to three (3) faculty members with whom you wish to work and whose research best reflects your interests. SESAME faculty are listed here.

Adviser Choices
Briefly tell us why you chose these faculty members and why this rank order.


You are required to submit two essays: a Statement of Purpose, and a Personal History. There is no minimum or maximum length. We recommend one to three pages; 12-point font; and single-spaced, for each essay.

Statement of Purpose

Describe your interest, experience, and motivation for graduate study in your area of specialization, including your preparation for this field of study; your academic plans or research interests in your chosen area of study; and your future career goals. Please be specific about why UC Berkeley would be a good intellectual fit for you. How do our offerings mesh with your interests and goals? Which faculty research resonates? Which faculty have you contacted?

Personal History 

Describe how your personal background and experiences inform your decision to pursue this graduate degree. What is your relationship with STEM or related disciplines? What connections do you see between such disciplines and education?

You may also include any relevant information about:

  • how you have overcome barriers to access higher education;
  • how you have come to understand the barriers faced by others;
  • your academic service to advance equitable access to higher education for women, racial minorities, and individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education;
  • your research focusing on underserved populations or related issues of inequality; or
  • your leadership among such groups.

GPA Worksheet

You must calculate your Advanced GPA, which is defined as all coursework after the first two years of your bachelor's degree.

For applicants whose undergraduate trajectory was not a standard 4 years at one institution, simply use your last two years of your Undergraduate degree.

If you need a GPA calculator, we recommend using this online resource.

If you have a graduate degree, there is a separate box for you to enter your graduate degree GPA.

If your GPA is not on a 4.0 scale there is no need to convert it. Enter it as is, in the appropriate GPA box.


  • Scan and upload PDF copies of all transcripts.
    • Unofficial transcripts should include all information an official transcript would:
      • Student information (i.e., first/last name)
      • Institution information
      • Degree conferral date(s) when applicable
      • All coursework information
  • Hard copies are not accepted.
  • Upload ​​transcripts from every post-secondary school you have attended, including community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs.
    • Upload PDF scans of your final transcripts from institutions where you did not receive a degree (e.g., community college) if you received credit that was later applied toward your degree, or if credit from that institution is listed on your bachelor's degree transcript.
  • Official transcripts will be required if you are accepted into our program; please do not send transcripts before official acceptance.

Letters of Recommendation

You are required to submit three (3) letters of recommendation.

  • At least two (2) should be academic letters.

You will add the recommenders' information to the online application. Each recommender is then responsible for uploading their letter directly into the online portal.

Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV)

You are required to submit a resume that includes education and professional work history; other professional activities (e.g., professional organizations); professional productivity (e.g., professional publications or professional development); and other major professional, vocational, community, or recreational activities, interests, and pursuits.

Submit via the online Graduate Division application, Resume/CV section.

English Language Proficiency

  • All applicants who have completed a basic degree in a country/region in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency.
  • Use recipient code 4833 for UC Berkeley.
  • For current information regarding this requirement, visit the Graduate Division website.

What makes a strong SESAME candidate

Strong candidates to SESAME have typically demonstrate that they are:

  • excited by the prospect of interdisciplinary work that connects Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) and education;
  • proficient in a STEM field and interested in using their proficiency to help others learn;
  • interested in applying their skills to conduct rigorous research that combines STEM and the learning sciences;
  • motivated to address issues of equity and diversity, and to improve people's lives;
  • eager to use a variety of technical and social resources to reach their goals; and
  • ready to enter a community of researchers and practitioners.

Review Process

A faculty admissions committee will review all completed application files for their relevant area of study. In accordance with students' active participation in School of Education governance, students will also participate in the admissions process (e.g., admissions interviews). In addition to grades and test scores, we will assess your application by noting achievements in graduate study, employment, and other activities you describe in your statement of purpose.

Some degree programs require interviews of top-ranked applicants. We will notify all applicants who need to fulfill this requirement. Telephone interviews may be conducted by arrangement with program staff.

Notification of Decision

The School of Education sends recommendations for admission to the Graduate Division between February and April for final approval. Notice from the Graduate Division constitutes official approval of admission. Communication or correspondence with the School of Education or an individual faculty member does not constitute approval of admission.


BSE Admissions Office


Questions about BSE's application process?

Sign up for our BSE Application Office Hours to speak with our Admissions & Fellowship Coordinator.

Questions about the academic program